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Morning Reading

A few stories I thought you might be interested in. If not, check back between 10:30 and 11 for some POLL action. is reporting that the U.S. consulate in the DR is asking MLB to re-investigate 40 signings.

Florida Today writes about the Nats' crowded outfield.

From Bart Hubbuch's Mets blog for the New York Post:

Mike Pelfrey, sidelined since last week by a strained muscle in his lower left leg, is scheduled to pitch a bullpen session in the morning. The session is a prelude to Pelfrey returning to the rotation for a start Saturday at home against the Nationals.

Tyler Kepner says David Wright is Mike Schmidt's heir as the best third baseman in the NL. Thoughts?

In the "former Nat" dept., the Philly Daily News has an update on Gary Majewski.

Anyone out there collect baseball cards? I used to but haven't for years. This story from the New York Times about a new line of cards from Topps is wild.

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 11, 2009; 9:33 AM ET
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Next: A Mid-Spring Journal Poll


If Bowden had resigned earlier maybe Majewski would have welcomed a return engagement with the Nats, I loved him back in '05-'06 and was sorry to see him go, though I was more sorry to see Bill Bray leave.

On the outfield piece (and also Rizzo's Q&A to Ladsen) I think it is a major misnomer to say we have a surplus of outfielders. The only guy IMO who is stuck in a numbers crunch is Willy Mo, who I see being DFA'd to Syracuse to work on his hitting (and defense?) until either there is a market for him or a spot on the 25 opens up.

I am opposed to any trade of Nick Johnson, I am positive that whatever contribution we can get from him this year will be significantly more than what we could ever get in trade. Even 38 games of NJ is better than the super craptastic C level suspect we'd get in return.

Posted by: estuartj | March 11, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

So it's the consulate's fault rather than the MLB investigators'? hmmm. Interesting spin.

I like Kearns' attitude (but we already knew that). Willingham's, too.

As for Kepner: whatever.

Great piece on Tex. I still like him, even if he is a bleeping Phillie. Would love to hear the groundhog story.

As for the cards piece: I still like the old school ones (and have picked up a few here and there).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 11, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Barry, and Chico,
A year (or two) ago, Barry, you were interviewed for a Mets blog on how the Nats looked for the then coming season, and the same blog had comparable pieces about all of the NL East. I suggest that NJ have the same thing - do interviews of the reporters who regularly cover the Phillies, Mets, Braves, and Marlins, and post them here.

Posted by: Traveler8 | March 11, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

On the OF, I do think we have one too many. Dunn, Milledge, Willingham, Kearns and Dukes all deserve to start or at least play a lot. Pena can be in AAA for a while, but could easily deserve a quick call-up if healthy.

Dunn will not share time, so it's really 4 to share 2 spots. Wouldn't mind seeing them trade Willingham (he and Milledge are the only ones who could be moved) for a strong RP.

On Wright. Hands down best 3B in NL, 2nd best in game behind ARod, didn't know there was a debate about that. He's one of the half dozen best hitters in the game at any position if you ask me.

However, I say he inherited best 3B in NL from Chipper Jones, who inherited it from Mike Schmidt. Can't forget Chipper, first ballot HOFer in my book and a class act.

Posted by: Avar | March 11, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I wonder whether Wright would have those gold gloves if he didn't play in New York?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 11, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Avar, you beat me to it. Schmidt played from 1972-1989. His career numbers: .267/.380/.529, with 528 dingers, 1595 RBIs and 174 SBs. An 11-time all-star.

But Chipper's numbers are broadly comparable: .310/.405/.548, 408 homers, 1374 RBIs and 135 SBs, over the period from 1993-2008 (to date, two less years than Schmidt's career, so some of the gaps could narrow further).

Wright, of course, has been terrific in his first five years, going .309/.389/.533, with 130 dingers, 489 RBIs and 92 SBs. If he plays ten more years at that level then he, like Schmidt and, eventually, Chipper, will be a HOF 3b. For the moment I would Chipper Schmidt's heir, and Wright Chipper's heir apparent.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 11, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"I would Chipper Schmidt's heir ..."

Hmmm, not sure how I would go about doing that. I meant to say that I would CALL Chipper Schmid't heir.

Just for fun, check out these 162-game averages, courtesy of Baseball Reference:

Wright: .309/.389/.533, 30-113-21
Jones: .310/.408/.548; 33-110-11
Schmidt: .267/.380/.527; 37-107-12

Which got me thinking, how does our own 3b stack up so far?

Zimmerman: .282/.341/.462; 21-94-6

Respectable, but that's the approximate gap between "solid major leaguer" and "HOF-caliber player." Perhaps this is why Spreadsheet Stan vetoed Jimbo's "David Wright Contract" for Zimmerman. Here's hoping Zimm's plate discipline and added protection in the lineup allow him to take it to the next level this year. It's time.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 11, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

If zim would of been healthy, he would of won the gold glove last year I think. While it is true that wright is much, much more well known, even he said that zimmerman was a better fielder at some point, zim makes some poor throws that should never happen but with the glove he is as good as just about anyone I've ever seen. I totally agree that nick should not be traded, we would get garbage for him. It does seem that someone in the outfield has to go for a reliever. I want Lastings, elijah, and dunn to be the outfield with willingham getting the majority of their days off, willie should get in most games as a defensive replacement or pinch runner, kearns seems to me to be a defensive replacement/pinch hitter

Posted by: bford1kb | March 11, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I tend to think Nick will bring more than a C level prospect. The money commitment is not great. There is also a school of thought that 100 - 120 games of outstanding play wins you more games than 150 games of average play. This is the argument for JD Drew (disregarding the contract).

If Nick is healthy, he should have value to a contender / pretender needing a 1st baseman. For example, if LDO is out there, would Nick be an upgrade over Kendry Morales? Would a Morales / Johnson platoon put the LAA level of play ahead of Giambi & Nomar? The LAA have Sean Rodriguez, a 2d baseman with a decent track record in the minors (.279 / .371 / 483 over 6 seasons, last 2 at Salt Lake in the PCL - AAA .304 / .397 / ,645). I'd aim for him.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 11, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

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